Thursday, March 31, 2011

My internet herd

I can feel completely alone in my house. Not alone alone (so turn around you stalker creepy perverts) but alone in the sense of girl time alone. I live in the middle of nowhere with neighbors who all have children closer to my age than they are. The lack of social interaction can be crippling for me.

But these days, the world is a teeny tiny place. If I'm feeling angsty, I can whisper a tweet to friends in Florida, Ohio, New York, or even England (for goodness sake) and I feel much less alone.  I've never met one of them face-to-face but someday we dream of getting together like long-lost pen pals.

I can't imagine being as alone I am in the world without this kind of interaction. How did my mom do it? My grandmothers? I'm sure that time was spent on the phone, but it's different on social media. It's not necessarily real-time. It's more voluntary.

I can chose to read a message or reply when I'm ready. And vice versa.  If I call, it interrupts. And it's continuous. I can run around the house in between tweets and get other stuff done. Or not.

I spend enough time with these people that I feel safe with them even though it is quite possible we'd pass one another at the mall without a second glance. I know I can spout something to them and get an honest, sharp, and likely witty response.

It's special to me to have a support network of people that I trust to tell me that it'll be ok or to stop whining if the situation begs.

Social media gets a bad rap. The gossip, the back-handedness, the deceit.  The idea that people on twitter announce everything that they're doing at a given second "I just brushed my teeth."

This IS the case sometimes, but social media has connected people who would be fantastic friends if they weren't separated by geography and circumstance. Inclusion in a group is an important thing.

From Ice Age...
Manny:  'That's what you do in a herd, you look out for each other.' 
Sid:  'I don't know about you guys but we are the weirdest herd I have ever seen.'

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Elastic lets you grow

Pregnancy was fun. I enjoyed it (well the second and third trimesters). I know some people who have been miserable the entire time. I wasn't. I loved having a life moving around inside me. I glowed. My hair was shiny (but fell out during pregnancy rather than after).

My favorite thing about pregnancy? Maternity clothes! Oh the stretchy loveliness of the preggo pants pouch! Ahh! Emergency runs to the bathroom - not a problem when you don't need to worry about belts or buttons or zippers! YAY!

Gone are the days of  tent clothes designed to "hide" pregnancy like my mom had to deal with.

My momma and I on Halloween a couple months before my brother was born.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How do you pack?

I've always been a heavy packer.

What if it rains? What if it's too cold? What if I spill something and I need to change my shirt four times?

And that's for a day hike - without the kid!

I'm learning, slowly but surely, through experience and a bum back that preparation (checking the forecast, for example) takes out some of those variables and lightens the load.  Yes, there are still variables and some things still might-maybe-what if happen. But I'm learning to roll with it.

A light load makes for a more enjoyable journey. I travel for work and I've found that packing light gets me in and out of the dreaded airport that much faster.

(See my post here to see how that plays with me in other ways.)

Packing for the worst-case scenario isn't always reasonable or optimal.

Yes, I'm sure it COULD snow in June...but do I pack a parka, mittens and hat??

I came to the realization that life is the same way. Why pack a heavier load - in weight, in toxic friendships, in responsibilities, in stress, in general?

Prepare yourself - physically, mentally, and emotionally through healthy eating, exercise, meditation and planning and let the rest slough off.

Living life worrying about the worse case scenario keeps you from enjoying a good or even great scenario.

Pack light and enjoy!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

For a cause

Today, I'm donating my post for a cause.

(No, this is not a campaign to rescue the NFL from its own greed - even though the next Superbowl is scheduled for Indy)

I want every reader to go to Elizabeth Flora Ross's page and take the pledge if you haven't already.  It is a pledge to end bullying by moms against moms in the blogosphere.

We, as moms, need to stick together. Some may choose to wear their baby, nurse endlessly, co-sleep, and quit their jobs while others chose to feed their children formula, use the cry-it-out method, and rely on day care. And of course, the majority of us who have every single one of those descriptors at some point during their child's first year.

Regardless of your personal choice - you're a mom (or a dad). Your ultimate goal is shared - to raise the healthiest, happiest child you can - while maintaining some semblance of sanity.

There is no need to denigrate a parent for doing what they think is best because it's not the decision we chose.

We all need to consider the bigger picture of open-faced, one-sided judgment. It is bullying. We don't want our children to do it - so we must lead by example!!

So go! Pledge! Also, go to Facebook and join the pledge there!

Share the love ~ and have a happy weekend!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I've given myself homework

I know. I know. I bring it all on myself. 

If you don't want to do extra work, why in the hell would you start a new blog. And one that isn't a random rambling blog, but one that actually requires research and references and extra time?

Because I feel it is a niche that I can fill that isn't being addressed by others.

So what's the niche? 

My new blog is about accessible nature. Parents like to kick their kids out into the outdoors to play, to learn, to explore because they were kicked out of their house by their parents. Remember how FREAKING boring that got? Think about this generation with instant gratification and extreme levels of stimulus - how BORING must that calm nature seem? My argument is not to keep kids inside - or to send them out with their hand held games. It's to show them that there IS SO MUCH outside that you can't see it all at once. Bugs and birds and flowers and trees and mammals and reptiles and water and soil and how all of these all interact and depend on one another.

Why you? 

Because I spent 6 years going to college to learn to recognize, identify, and categorize the above creatures and their interactions. I earned two degrees that indicate that I know what I'm talking about. I worked two years running an intense research project studying ALL OF THESE THINGS. And because I am currently not using this information in any other way, and this, as with many skills, will be lost if I don't use it.

Are you just being a martyr for a cause that doesn't really need you?

No. I don't believe so. I think it important for people, especially teachers and parents, to have an extra ounce of information. Especially when dealing with children who are used to the at-your-fingertips information - it is essential for people to know what they might encounter when they step out the door, what equipment would be helpful to have along, or what to take a picture of to reference when the get back to a computer (or cell reception).

Are you abandoning this blog?

NO! My new site is family friendly, and I will still need a place to vent my crazy.

So where is this new site?
So go. Check it out, please. Share with your friends. I really think this is an admirable effort to bring the wonder of North American vegetation and wildlife to the forefront of the minds of our youth - via their parents.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A night like that

You know those nights after a long, crazy day...

One of those nights where you know you need to just go to bed, but you get caught up in conversation - refreshing, real conversation that doesn't involve locating a remote or discussing the texture of the baby's poo...

And you finally crash at midnight (as opposed to the planned 10:30) unwound from the day, happily snuggled into bed - and life in general...

Then at 2AM the baby wakes up and decides to BE awake and in various states of happiness, frustration, and cuddleness...for 3 hours...

Then you finally lay sandwiched between your sleeping husband and your sleeping baby (she was against the wall instead of between us - fyi) when you hear the noise...

The noise that sounds like it might be a tornado siren in the town out of your valley and 15 miles away...

And you lift your head to listen to see if you hear anything that remotely sounds like something you'd describe as freight train plowing straight for your house...

And you scare the ever living bejesus out of your husband who happens to wake and see your face hovering above his straining to see danger approaching through closed blinds...

And he tells you it's just the furnace running and rolls back over...

And you lay awake for another hour planning evacuation plans - A, B, and C - in case your roof gets blown off...

And then you fall asleep just in time for the baby to wake up and pluck at your eyelashes...

Have you ever had one of those nights??

Yeah, me neither...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My love, in writing

I'm inked.

Not as much as some, but more than others.

After an impulsive "baby dragon" tattoo incident paired with a sub-par cover up job - my rule is that I have to want a tat for a year before I can get it.

Before my daughter was born, I knew I would probably get some sort of tattoo for her. I just didn't know what.

With her name being Lily and my focus of study in college being herbaceous plants (read: wildflowers), a flower was my first choice. My favorite native lily is the trout lily.

Unfortunately, the trout lily is either white or yellow - not awesome tat colors. Between not being able to figure out an artful way to incorporate my trout lily into a tat and the nagging in my head of the trite use of her name to select a design...I abandoned that idea.

Then I friended Stay At Home Babe's Lerner on Facebook. I knew she was tattooed, and I stalked her lovely ink pictures.  She has the hand print of each of her two children on her back.  (See her post here in which she recently displayed her art.)

I was inspired.

Since I always carry Lily on my left hip, her hand had basically worn its way into my left shoulder blade. I asked her daycare teacher to take a hand print on her 1st birthday for me to use.

One of four of her 1st birthday hand prints
I chose her first birthday because it was such a milestone for the two of us. We had conquered quite a bit in the first year of our mother/daughter relationship. From colic, to illness, to depression, to weening just to name a few.  We used her birthday as a landmark of new things, new experiences, new life, and greater love.

In addition to the hand print, I had to incorporate my life motto "This little light of mine". See my post here where I delve into the meaning that song holds for me.

I gave this information to my new-found bestest-ever tattoo artist Kate at Bugaboo Tattoo in Hammond, IN.

It had been eight years since my last tat. It didn't hurt as much as it had before. Maybe childbirth raised my pain threshold.

Or maybe I just knew it would be worth every sting.